Valley sports books react as Supreme Court opens door for nation - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Valley sports books react as Supreme Court opens door for nationwide sports betting

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Sports fans placing bets at a Las Vegas sports book. (FOX5) Sports fans placing bets at a Las Vegas sports book. (FOX5)

The Supreme Court made a historic decision on sports betting on Monday, striking down the federal law that banned bets on sports in every state but Nevada. The 6-3 decision opens the door for other states to legalize sports betting and create their own industry. 

"This is a huge decision," Westgate Superbook's Jay Kornegay said. 

The ruling struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which Congress passed in 1992 to prevent states from legalizing sports betting. Nevada was exempt from law, since it had already created a sports betting industry. 

"America likes sports and betting together. Sports and betting have gone together for thousands of years, this will take off," gaming attorney Dennis Gutwald said. Before practicing law, Gutwald was an investigator for the Nevada Gaming Commission. 

"Over the next few months, within the next year, I could see bets being taken outside of Nevada," Gutwald said. 

Five other states have already legalized sports betting, anticipating the Supreme Court ruling. New Jersey is the state that originally challenged PASPA. West Virginia, Mississippi Connecticut and Pennsylvania have also passed sports betting laws. 

The ruling left many wondering what will happen to Nevada's sports books. Thousands of people travel to the valley and pack into sports books for major sporting events like the NCAA Men's Basketball tournament and the Super Bowl. 

"I don't have the similar concerns that others might have," Kornegay said.  "It's very rare that people come out to just make a sports bet, they come out to enjoy the venues, the great and fabulous sports books that we have. It's going to be very difficult for these other jurisdictions to emulate what Las Vegas can produce."

Kornegay said the Supreme Court ruling is an opportunity to introduce sports betting to a new clientele, who may had not ventured into a sports book otherwise. 

Meredith Digital staff and the Associated Press contributed to this story.

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